Could Discovery of Mammoth Blood Lead to Revival of Species?
Researchers have uncovered the carcass of a female mammoth in Russia which may include 10,000-year-old mammoth blood , paving the way for the potential to revive a remarkable species from our ancient past.
Unlike other mammoth discoveries, the recent finding in Russia’s Novosibirsk Islands was incredibly well-preserved by the northern deep freeze and has large amounts of soft tissue still intact. But of particular interest, is the fact that scientists discovered a peculiar liquid around the carcass which they believe to be blood still containing viable cells.
"Whatever we want to call the red material, it would be fantastic if it contained intact cells," says Ross Macphee, an Ice Age mammal expert at the American Museum of Natural History. "I await secure identification on this point."
Others believe the hope of finding viable cells may be a long shot but experts wait in anticipation as the potential implications of such a discovery would be huge. Imagine the possibility of future generations taking their children to a wildlife park to see a living, breathing mammoth that once abounded the earth 10,000 years ago along with our ancient ancestors.
Despite the remarkable finding, scientists are still a long way off cloning a mammoth and finding a way for a modern Asian elephant – the closest living relative to the mammoth – to carry a baby mammoth.
Such a possibility does, however, raise ethical issues. Is it right for mankind to bring back species of the past into a new foreign world? And if so, where do we draw the line? Would it lead to the revival of Neanderthals and other ancestors of the human? Some have argued that instead of focusing time and resources on bringing back ancient species we should instead be concentrating on preventing the loss of thousands of species around the planet that currently face extinction.